What are the Warning
Ovarian cancer often shows no signs or symptoms because it is not usually discovered
until it is in an advanced stage of development. Therefore, it is crucial that
you listen to your body and do not ignore any of the following symptoms. Although
they may be caused by other less serious conditions, it is important that a
physician evaluate a woman's medical history and perform certain tests to determine
the source of the symptoms.
- General abdominal discomfort, pain and/or swelling (bloating, gas, cramping,
- Frequent or urgent urination
- Loss of appetite
- Weight gain or loss for no apparent reason
- Persistent fatigue
- Pain during intercourse
- Unexplained change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation)
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Back Pain
- Difficulty Breathing
How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed?
Most commonly, a mass may be felt during a routine pelvic examination that
may signal to the physician the possibility of ovarian cancer. If the mass is
solid, fixed or irregular, it is more likely to be malignant, or cancerous.
Often a biopsy is taken of the mass and surrounding tissues for analysis. A
pathologist then reviews the tissues under a microscope and can determine if
cancer is present.
What are the Stages of Ovarian Cancer?
According to the International Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetricians
- Stage I: Cancer is confined to one of both of the ovaries.
A woman has a 95 percent chance of being cured if she is diagnosed at this
stage. However, only 25 percent of ovarian cancer cases are found in Stage
- Stage II: Cancer is in one or both of the ovaries and has
spread, but is confined to the pelvis - the uterus, the bladder or the rectum.
- Stage III: Cancer is in one or both of the ovaries and has
spread to nearby lymph nodes and/or to the lining of the abdomen or other
abdominal organs, excluding the liver.
The 5-year survival rates for Stage II or Stage III ovarian cancer are 30
to 50 percent.
- Stage IV: Cancer is in one or both ovaries and has metastasized,
or distantly spread, to other organs, such as the liver or areas outside the
Here is a
video about living with cancer and caring for yourself after diagnosis (Source:
2004 Laura McCommons.